SpainGSD and GSD Ecological Thinking: Izaskun Chinchilla, “Suspicious Biophilia: Organic Growth, Winning Proposal City of Dreams Competition”

The notion of ‘biophilia’ has been recently addressed by several authors in the field of architectural design. Biophilic spaces and objects, are supposed to connect with natural preferences of humans, determined by their physiology. These preferences include natural light, vegetation, a particular rage of materials, specific color arrangements and spatial conditions reminding natural landscapes. A more sophisticated definition of biophilia is deeply informed by perception, psychology or social studies.
The purpose of this lecture is, nevertheless, exploring the paradoxes of biophilia. Though biophilia might be supposed to be sympathetic with ecological thinking, it might in fact collapse with ecological dictates. A real independence from fuel is now, for example, only possible in dense, continuous and mixed used cities which look quite grey and artificial. Cultural studies, gender theory, social clues or architecture history might also find the recognition of universal human preferences contradictory.
The lecture will explore an intellectual perspective in which burdening with problems, and not denying them, is precisely what makes knowledge emerge. The lecture does not want to contribute to peaceful architectural paradigms but, precisely, build up a well defined and significant controversy.
Izaskun Chinchilla Architects recently won the City of Dreams competition in NY with a proposition titled Organic Growth. They will build a pavilion in Governors Island this summer. The pavilion will be fully built out of recycled materials (bicycle wheels, photographer tripods and umbrellas among others) and put together by volunteers. Izaskun will use the will reflect on the design for this pavilion as a case study for an application of biophilic principles.

This event is organized by SpainGSD, GSD Ecological Thinking, and Urban Metabolish Student Group.

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Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the events office at (617) 496-2414 or events@gsd.harvard.edu.